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Gremlin in the machinery – interview with Cynical Existence

Updated: 22 July, 2023 Created: 20 August, 2015 By:Adalbert Category: Interviews
Cynical Existence is a Swedish industrial/aggrotech act which despite its quite young age has already issued  three very strong  albums : “Come Out And Play” (2013),  “Erase, Evolve And Rebuild” ‎(2013) and  released just few months ago “We Are The Violence “. The last album has very good reviews and is promoted by very energetic live shows – those who saw Cynical Existence during the last Castle Party Festival in Bolkow, Poland surely understand what I am talking about. The project led by Frederik Croona is without any doubt an important injection of fresh blood into dark electro scene still dominated by bands which were born in 90s (or even earlier). Recent show at Castle Party,  last album and many plans for the future (including Cycnical Existence’s presence on the next Halotan Sampler 09)- we had plenty of reasons to interview Frederik!

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Adalbert: Hello! Let’s start this interview with a question about your recent show at Castle Party, Poland. What are your memories about your first gig in this country and the whole festival?

Frederik Croona: Hi, My first gig in Poland was actually in Szczecin ;). But a great memory from the festival was all the awesome people who came to see us play live. The setting was great and the crowd really seemed to enjoy the music. The festival itself is really cool and very unique in terms of the place its held and the great mix of music.

You are still promoting your last album “We are the violence”. What is your opinion about this release half a year after its premiere?

Naturally since it’s the latest piece of work from Cynical it needs to be promoted and for more people to hear it. It’s the strongest material I’ve written to date and the strongest set of songs written together with George and Filip. Most of the time you get tired of even the new songs you’ve made cause you’ve heard them a million times, but there are still quite a few tracks I really like still.

The whole album is a collection of very aggressive songs – you prefer this form rather than creating some instrumental tracks? I’m asking because in theory composing song with stanzas and chorus is more difficult than creating some composition without any strict structure.

I like to create songs that have great melodies and that make people dance.
The fusion of danceable music combined with aggressive vocals and meaningful lyrics.

I prefer tracks with vocals because that’s what I like to listen to myself.I also come from a metal background , so the way I write is very typical to rock/metal/pop. It just makes more sense to me you know?


Do you have any favourite songs from “We are violence”? For me “Affliction of self torture”, “You, “War of times” instrumental “Sovereign” and “We are through” are outstanding tracks…

All those you mentioned above except “War of times” and add “We are the violence” and you’ve found’em.

My biggest vocals inspiration come from Philip Anselmo of Pantera

“We are the violence” has a very interesting cover. What kind of creature exactly is trying to come out of your head?

The head isn’t mine , but what you see is basically a little gremlin. In the older days people used to say that there was a gremlin in the machinery if there was something wrong with it. So basically it’s a metaphore of the anger we have inside us, this is what the creature represents.

On the next Halotan Sampler we will be able to hear your song called “Visa mig vägen (Fredriks rework)”. Can you tell us something more about it?

The tracks name in English is “Show me the way” and it was actually a track that was meant for my side project and it was released as a free demo. But I took it in a reworked it a little bit and changed some things just for this compilation. I wanted to show off a song sung in my native tongue. It’s not often that I do this because I dislike to write in Swedish. For me, English makes more sense.

The first thing which discerns Cynical Existence from other dark electro projects are your vocals – very characteristic and recognizable. How did you came with an idea of such vocal expression? What are your inspirations?

I take that as a compliment haha. I started out with a lot of distortion and chorus fx on my vocals but soon got tired of using it, mainly cause all other bands did it. Also live it’s more convenient if you can just use your own voice naturally instead of drowning it with a lot of fx. My biggest vocals inspiration come from Philip Anselmo of Pantera.


Cynical Existence is you – dealing with vocals, lyrics and music, plus George Klontzas – music and Filip Lönnqvist – guitars. What exactly is the role of other band members? They are more like live musicians or they add something during the creative process?

They are studio musicians only and never a part of the live setup. This is mainly due to the distance between us and the different schedules we have. George and I send tracks between each other and then I mix the final production and send it to Filip who adds guitars.

Can you tell us something more about the solo project you are currently working on? Snippets on soundcloud reveal something more future-pop oriented, with more clean and melodic vocals.

I want to go a bit slower and darker with Cynical and the new material I wrote didn’t really work, mainly because it sounded more like trance/futurepop and it was a bit more “happy” in a way. So I decided to try to make a cross-over between futurepop and aggrotech. It’s going to have more singing and less screaming. But we’ll see how it goes ;).

You come from Gothenburg in Sweden – a city known especially for its death metal scene… Why did you decide to create to create dark electronic music rather than follow this local trend from your city?

As I stated before, I come from a metal background and I’m very much into metal. But as you grow older and work takes more of your time, you’ll end up with having to take a decision. For me it was to create music that I could make in the comfort of my home. Don’t get me wrong tho, I love metal and specially the “gothenburg metal”, but creating it is not for me.


A few words about the dark independent scene in your country? What are your favourite projects? Do you think Sweden got its own style when it comes to dark electro or EBM?

Our country is known of old school EBM and Synthpop. I think Sweden has it’s root deep in synthpop and EBM and not the new styles like dark electro/aggrotech etc. It’s a shame , but it’s the way it is. Swedish bands have inspiration from others of course, but some have a very distinct sound of course.

And the last question – what are your artistic plans for the future (I mean Cynical Existence and your involvement in other projects)?

I don’t plan, I just do . One thing at a time and who knows whats gonna happen in the future.

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